Pickling solution (makes 1.5L)
1. First, wash your desired jars in hot, soapy water and pop upturned on a baking sheet and place in a warm oven (150ºC) for 10 minutes or so. Be careful, they will be very hot when they come out, allow to cool slightly.
2. Meanwhile, prepare your brine as explained in the introduction above –– mix the vinegar, water and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a simmer just so the sugar dissolves, then allow to cool until you use.
3. Using a mandolin, or taking your time to slice uniformly, prepare your vegetables, however way you want to. You can do long ribbons of courgette, thick slices of red onion, radish halves, roughly chopped fennel, batons of carrot –– whatever way you prefer, just make sure for each vegetable you’re cutting its parts into similar sizes.
4. Add some aromatics, this really amps up the flavour of the preserved vegetables. For the carrot, we added 1 tsp each of whole cumin seeds, coriander seeds and black mustard seeds. For the radish, we sliced two garlic cloves and added to the pink-bordered rounds. We added a little star anise to the red onion for a light hit of anise, which pairs well with allium. Make it your own, with whatever you have, whether you want the woody herbiness of bay or the sweet pungency of whole, cracked cardamom pods.
5. Make sure you fill the jars to the top, and press down on the vegetables to ensure you cant get any more in, then carefully pour in your brine mixture (using a funnel here is handy) until it get to the top of the jar. Air is the enemy here, so eliminate as much air as you can, then pop the lid on and store.
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